Bad shopping – good cooking!

Remember how I said the food shop went wrong last week? It went even ‘wronger’ this week. I decided to go to Tesco instead of Co-op as I hadn’t been for ages and Co-op seems to be even more expensive than usual lately. Maybe it was because the things I like were so much cheaper but I went beserk. Thankfully I’d received £9 of Tesco vouchers otherwise it would have been even more disasterous. As it is I spent so much I only have £2 for next weeks food shop! Clearly this is not going to happen. I’ve gone over and I’m going to have to take some extra cash out of our ‘dipping into’ fund which I am really annoyed about. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I have to use as little as possible. I’ll need to buy milk, bread, fruit and veg next week but as little as I can get away with. Grrr.

 Anyway, this called for a big cooking session as I really can’t afford to let any of it go to waste – it’s got to last! I bought two MASSIVE courgettes and so I used one and a bit to make a Tomato, Basil and Courgette sauce to go with pasta.

I’ve always got some of this in the freezer. To make it I use: 2 cartons of passata (very cheap and gives a smoother texture than tinned, chopped tomatoes), garlic puree (I use this a lot these days as it keeps way longer than it says on the tube), fresh basil (my basil plant is the only plant I haven’t killed), a little bit of olive oil and one or two courgettes depending on their size. I heat a dash of oil in a pan, add chopped courgette, the garlic puree and chopped basil and stir over the heat until the courgettes have a bit of golden colour. Then I add the passata and heat until it reduces a little. That’s it – no fuss. I don’t add any seasoning at this point because I usually reserve some for Baby to have with pasta. I portion it off into Baby’s plastic bowls (see above – they came from IKEA, cost pence and are blinkin’ marvellous) and, once cool, pop them into the freezer. When they’ve frozen I ease them out of the bowls and put them into a large freezer bag so they take up as little space as possible. It is great having these portions handy and it consumes less time and energy when cooked in a batch. We usually have this once a week but I like to have a couple of these in the freezer at all times as when you have a stash of dry pasta, you’ve always got a meal to hand!

I also made Macaroni Bake as I’ve had some macaroni kicking around for ages. While the macaroni was boiling, I chopped up the rest of the courgette and an onion and gave it a quick fry with a dash of olive oil. I debated about whether to use up a packet of cheese sauce I’ve had for ages but decided against it as I wanted to keep some back for Baby and I’d rather she had cheese sauce I made myself. Thus I also made up some cheese sauce (using butter, plain flour, milk and cheddar) and stirred it into the pasta (once it was cooked and drained!), mixing in the courgette and onion and also some chopped, fresh tomatoes. I spooned the mixture into a dish, topped it with grated cheese and baked it in the oven until the cheese had melted and turned golden and crispy. This gave me 3 adult sized portions and 3 small portions for Baby.

I also made  4 adult sized and 3 ‘Baby’ portions of beef casserole with dumplings. I haven’t spent so long in the ktichen in one day for a long time! I really need to get some more cooking done but I’m out of steam for today. I’ve just about got the energy to go and portion off the pack of chicken drumsticks and thighs to go in the freezer and then I’m done 🙂 .

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Categories: Frugal food, Recipes | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Bad shopping – good cooking!

  1. Alison B43

    I have had a bad month with food budget too. Most of the money was spent in the first week and a half, but I do have a fair amount of meat in the freezer, but like you will need bread, milk, fruit and veg to get to the end of the month. I have about £35 left, so may just do it, but doubt it! Is it the time of year? not sure, but actually the lure of money off or extra points for larger shopping trolley certainly seems to have an effect. Oh well, all too soon it will be the start of another month – better luck next time!!

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